One step outside of the New Orleans airport on June 24th, 2009 meant one out of a million more steps into an inferno. What’s hot to me is a mere ninety degrees; and that’s during a heat wave. So when I stepped out of the New Orleans airport this summer and felt one hundred and three degrees worth of heat, I figured it was just that; a heat wave. Come to find out, it was everyday weather.
The weather made me nervous because not only was it excruciatingly hot, but it also started to pour. Rain in Louisiana felt like bullets slamming down on your head and tearing through the umbrella that always stood strong in New York. The citizens of New Orleans seem oblivious to the rain, since our shuttle bus driver dropped us off about a million miles away from the dorms, suitcases and all. I was ready to leave as soon as my feet hit the soaked pavement. All I could think about was how it didn’t make any sense for it to rain and still be extremely hot. The initial reassurance I was offered was from the head of Super Scholar Excel, the name of the summer program I was a part of at Xavier University in Louisiana. Not only did Ms. Michelle Carter offer me a ride to the dorms, but she made sure my fellow New Yorkers and I were all set up for the rest of the four weeks that followed. It was her, along with the rest of the summer program’s members that made my stay more than enjoyable.
My home for a month was a tiny dorm room in the Catherine Drexel Hall. My roommate, Anna Santos, was from Savannah, Georgia and was Mexican and African American. I walked in and found her on the phone, with little to say to me; which caused me to have second thoughts about sleeping in the same room as her. The first few days consisted of making every friend I could in order to delay going back to my dorm until the very last minute. However, I was forced to speak to Anna when she offered me a late night snack at some point. It was then that I realized, Anna was a natural sweetheart; thus goes the saying: never judge a book by its cover.
I made two lifelong friends, other than Anna Santos: Sarah and Chris. Sarah Kinslow had her own California style: skinny jeans, white tees, and cut up “boyfriend fit” tops. Her hair was all natural and so was her kind hearted spirit. Christopher Johnson, from South Carolina, happened to be the most intelligent seventeen year old I had ever met. His accent and his wit just added to his already amazing personality. These two, along with many other friends from Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, and Florida (just to name a few) taught me everything from a dance move called the “jerk” to how good eggs taste with a little ketchup.
The trip overall changed the way I look at life. It allowed me to experience new people, new foods, and living with a stranger for a short period of time. It gave me a clear sense of the college life by introducing me to classes that lasted a little over an hour each. It also provided a great foundation for what I should expect when I finally make that four to six year move to college. I couldn’t get used to the weather, but I made the rest worth while, and because of that I have no regrets.
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